B4.2 Water Definitions continued…


Surface Water:

Surface waters include rivers, lakes, lochs, loughs, reservoirs, ponds, streams, canals, ditches, coastal waters and estuaries.


Groundwater is the top level of water that is stored underground, in the saturated zone.


More fresh water is stored under the ground in aquifers than on the earth’s surface.



Ground waters include groundwater as well as water above the saturated zone. This is all water contained underground.

The following definitions were contained in the Groundwater Regulations 1998 [SI No. 2746]:

Direct Discharge:

“The introduction into groundwater of any substance in list I or II without percolation through the ground or subsoil.”


“All water which is below the surface of the ground in the saturation zone and in direct contact with the ground or subsoil.”

Highway Drain:

“A drain which a highway authority or other person is entitled to keep open by virtue of section 100 of the Highways Act 1980[10].”

Road Drain:

A drain which a roads authority is obliged or entitled to keep open by virtue of section 31 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984[11].”